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Spain remains the world leader in blue flag beaches in 2024

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Once again, Spain holds more blue flags for its beaches and marinas than any other country in the world – a record it has held without interruption for 30 years.

This year, following the official blue-flag awarding procedure, Spain's beaches hold a total of 638 of these prestigious kitemarks – 11 more than in 2023 – with the east-coast province of Alicante boasting the highest number.

El Portet beach in Moraira, Alicante, Spain
The province of Alicante boasts the highest number of blue-flagged beaches. Photo: Canva

Another 102 blue flags went to leisure ports – every single applicant in this category - and seven to tour boats.

Following a trend that began to take off two years ago, a growing number of inland beaches have been applying for – and earning – blue flags, with 11 of these in the land-locked western region of Extremadura, whose nearest sea coast is in Portugal. The newest inland beach entry is for Lerate Bay in Guesalez, Navarra, a single-province region that does not have a coast.

In fact, despite only eight of the 15 regions in mainland Spain having a sea shore, a total of 11 now have blue-flagged beaches – only Castilla y León and Castilla-La Mancha, in the centre of the country, and Aragón and La Rioja in the north, currently have none.

Spain accounts for 15% of blue-flagged beaches on earth, and has consistently beaten every other country since 1994, with Greece and Turkey second and third.

This year, eight beaches earned their first-ever blue flag, and 33 others, which had lost theirs in previous years, won them back. The Comunidad Valenciana, on the east coast, continues to hold the most blue flags – 159, being six more than in 2023 – followed by Andalucía, in the south, with 156, and Galicia, in the far north-west, with 125.

Beaches in seven towns in Spain have held blue flags non-stop since the award was created in 1987. All of these, other than Bastiagueiro beach in Oleiros, Galicia, are in the Comunidad Valenciana.

The remaining six are Sant Joan beach (Alicante), La Fossa (Calpe), and Carrer la Mar (El Campello), all in the province of Alicante; Playa Nord (Gandia) and Playa Sant Antoni (Cullera), in the province of Valencia; and El Carregador in Alcalá de Xivert, in the province of Castellón.

If you are thinking of moving to Spain, but have doubts about whether any of these areas might be the perfect place for you, find out by using our Find Your Place page.

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